‘It will protect you’: Cleveland man’s message for other renters after home destroyed in fire

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 5:52 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Fire rushed Thursday through a home located on Arabella Road in Cleveland, destroying everything inside.

The house caught fire while second floor tenant Ray Barber was at work.

“When I got there, all I see was smoke,” Barber told 19 News. “I’m just looking at all my memories go down, it was a tough day.”

Firefighters said an employee of a nearby business called 911 around 2:50 p.m. for a couch fire on the front porch.

The house was fully involved when firefighters arrived, with flames bursting from all three floors.

Fire Lt. Mike Norman of the Cleveland Division of Fire said it was deemed accidental, due to smoking on a couch.

“If you [are] smoking, make sure it’s all the way out,” Barber said.

As Barber works to start over, he told 19 News he wished he had renter’s insurance.

Barber said all of his belongings are gone, including his children’s items.

“I am learning a lot since this fire [on] what to do next time,” Barber said. “Renter’s insurance don’t cost that much. It will protect you.”

There were no injuries to residents or firefighters.